1994 Shankill Road killings

The 1994 Shankill Road killings
Part of the Troubles
Date16 June 1994
LocationShankill Road, Belfast
Result Successful INLA ambush and getaway
Irish National Liberation Army UVF
Commanders and leaders
Gino Gallagher Trevor King 
4 volunteers 3 volunteers
Casualties and losses
none 3 killed

The 1994 Shankill Road killings took place on 16 June 1994. The Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) shot dead three Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members – high-ranking member Trevor King, Colin Craig and David Hamilton – on the Shankill Road in Belfast, close to the UVF HQ.The following day, the UVF launched two 'retaliatory' attacks. In the first, UVF members shot dead a Catholic civilian taxi driver in Carrickfergus. In the second, they shot dead two Protestant civilians in Newtownabbey, whom they believed were Catholics. [1] The Loughinisland massacre, two days later, is believed to have been a further retaliation.[2]


In the months leading up to the 1994 Provisional IRA and Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) ceasefires, there was a brief return to the tit-for-tat killings of the mid-1970s and there had been a number of these attacks which resulted in paramilitary as well as civilian deaths. In May the UVF shot and killed a volunteer of the IRA's Dublin Brigade, Martin Doherty after he thwarted a bomb attack at a pub in Dublin's Pearse Street. At the start of June, a leading loyalist paramilitary was injured in an IRA bomb attack in Portadown.


Trevor King mural, Disraeli Street, May 2012

On 16 June 1994, high-ranking UVF volunteer Trevor King was standing on the corner of the Shankill Road and Spier's Place talking to fellow UVF members, David Hamilton (43) and Colin Craig (31). They were about one hundred yards away from the UVF headquarters, which was located in rooms above a shop known as "The Eagle". A car drove past them and as it did so, Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) gunmen inside the vehicle opened fire on the three men. David Lister and Hugh Jordan claimed that Gino Gallagher, who was himself shot dead in 1996 during an internal dispute, was the main gunman in the attack. Colin Craig was killed on the spot. King and David Hamilton lay in the street, seriously wounded as panic and chaos erupted on the Shankill in the wake of the shooting.[3] Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Roy Magee was in "The Eagle" discussing an upcoming Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) meeting and the possibility of a loyalist ceasefire with the UVF Brigade Staff when the attack took place. He and the others raced out of the building after hearing the gunfire. He later described the scene he came upon outside.

"With some others, I ran down to where the men were. One was already dead and the others were in a very, very bad physical state. The road was in pandemonium at that stage. You could see that the leadership of the UVF was quite naturally very, very broken and disturbed about the shooting of their colleague. He [Trevor King] was a senior commander".

King was rushed to hospital where he was put on a life-support machine. The shooting had left him paralysed from the neck down. He died on 9 July with Reverend Magee at his bedside. According to Magee, King himself made the decision to turn off the machine.

The killings were a blow for the Northern Ireland peace process and a morale boost for the INLA. The attack was the INLA's most notorious since the Droppin Well bombing in 1982 which killed seventeen people, 11 British soldiers and 6 civilians.[4][5][6]


INLA Chief of Staff Gino Gallagher at the time of the shootings

The following day, the UVF launched two 'retaliatory' attacks. In the first, UVF members shot dead a Catholic civilian taxi driver in Carrickfergus. In the second, they shot dead two Protestant civilians in Newtownabbey, whom they believed were Catholics.[7] Two days after the killings the Ulster Volunteer Force decided to launch another revenge attack when they killed six Catholic civilians in a bar while they were watching the Ireland vs Italy 1994 World Cup game opener in what became known as Loughinisland massacre [8] The tit-for-tat attacks continued on and off for the spring and summer of 1994 until the Provisional IRA ceasefire of 31 August 1994 and the Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire in October. The attacks on the Shankill were the INLA's most deadliest attack of the 1990's.

See also



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